Press Release Polar Bears on the Edge: New book punctures myth that polar bear conservation is success story

Polar Bears on the Edge: Heading for Extinction while Management Fails

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The climate is changing, sea-ice is melting, polar bears are suffering. And yet, the establishment accepts that about 1.000 polar bears are hunted every year. On average, one polar bear is shot every 9 hours, or almost 3 every day. Polar bears are systematically being hunted out.

 A new book documents how lack of political courage and the corruption of science and management by commercial interests combine to threaten polar bears as much as global warming. „Polar Bears on the Edge“ is a relentless account of polar bear management failure and a daring attempt to finally initiate true protection of the species before it is too late.

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 Over-hunting will eradicate polar bears before climate change can

Polar Bears have become one of the strongest symbols of our climate change challenge, and the effects of climate change have been elevated to the sole major threat to polar bear survival. The challenges polar bears face through deterioration of habitat are used by the community of polar bear workers as an opportunity to do nothing about over-hunting.

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Commercialized polar bears corrupt Arctic politics, science and management

Why does this over-hunting not make headlines? Why is this scenario allowed to continue? Danish veteran Arctic guide and traveler Morten Joergensen suggests several reasons why. He further documents manipulations with polar bear population figures, so that “reality” is made to mirror the opportunistic policies. The lack of arms-length between decision-makers, scientists, managers and consumers is demonstrated. The prevalence of letting money and rifles talk means that polar bears are facing extirpation.

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How bad is it?

It is quite simple: The numbers do not add up. There are probably no more than 20.000 polar bears left today, the population down by 20-40% in 40 years. Science reckons they can multiply by less than 4% per year, but we allow 5% per year to be shot. A confluence of interests leads to this over-hunting being condoned by particularly Canada and Greenland, but also the USA and Norway. Neither is it challenged by elite scientists, polar bear managers, or our largest conservation NGOs such as WWF.

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Change of policy – or extinction before mid century

In clear language, the author describes how the current hunting regime in itself will lead to polar bear extinction in the wild in only decades. But the book also argues that there is a chance to keep polar bears around if a complete revision of management policies happens very soon. Maximum harvest management must be replaced by a moratorium on polar bear hunting, the affected communities must be compensated, all international trade in polar bear parts must be banned, and new refuges must be set aside for the bears to survive in. That way, we might still have polar bears after 2050.

Morten Joergensen:

POLAR BEARS ON THE EDGE. Heading for Extinction while Management Fails

Softcover, 218 pages including photographs. US$ 19,95, € 18,50, DKK 140,-

ISBN 9-783937-903231. Published by: Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com. Also available as eBook.

Link to crowd-funding campaign for further distribution and with further information: bit.ly/1ELpk3d

For more information, interview requests or reviewer’s copy, contact Morten Joergensen: ursmar2015@gmail.com

Link to forum for further discussion, group-forming and action: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectThePolarBear

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